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  • RHS Patriot Voice

Football Games aren’t Everything


 

“What makes a high school experience good?” The answer to this question relies solely on who you ask and how high school was for them. One student may say, “it’s the friends you make along the way!”, another might say “definitely the football games!”. Another might say, “everything”, while their classmate may say “nothing”. For everyone, this question is complicated. For me, it’s become quite simple: not the pep rallies, not just the sports games, but the extracurriculars. Student-run clubs are the lifeblood of a high school community, and for those that participate, their very own lifeblood as well. This is not to say that every other facet of school life is invalid, but that when we give students the ability to connect, build skills, and feel comfort in community, only then can we allow them to find – or forge – their place in the world.


Now, as the School Committee considers implementing rules to restrict staff involvement in extracurricular fundraising (per their August meeting), we must reconsider their importance once again. The arts (ex. Drama Club, Art Club, Rock Ensemble) have been historically underfunded, the importance for self-expression and creativity misunderstood. Clubs fit for building skills in life/careers (ex. Robotics, Speech & Debate), are left to fundraise for in-state and out-of-state opportunities on their own. Culture clubs that serve as safe-spaces for students of all identities raise funds not only to help build comfort and community, but also to give back to those that need it most. Sports teams, especially those that aren’t as popular as football in our city, are left behind with outdated jerseys, fields in poor condition, and little awareness. Especially as the new high school’s construction is being considered on existing fields, their future is left uncertain. Thanks to the work of students and their combined dedication, time, and tenacity, these extracurriculars are able to run and continue.


But, we must also understand the integral role that staff has in supporting students through their efforts to run and lead extracurriculars. Teachers that aid in school groups, called Advisors and/or Coaches, help share fundraisers, give back, and have the connections necessary to bring extracurriculars past just the reach of the high school. Staff dedicate themselves to the betterment of students, both inside and outside the classroom. Whether it's attending competitions, games, and meetings, or instilling their students with the confidence and wisdom needed to succeed, these clubs cannot run without the help of staff. Caregivers also offer a helping hand, serving as chaperones and judges, as well as fundraising in support of sports and clubs. But, in a city where many must work long shifts and look after their families, strong PTOs can be hard to come by, which is why the relationship between students and staff is so integral to allowing extracurriculars to thrive.

Participation in extracurriculars drives plenty of students forward in high school, in their careers, and even beyond in life. It is tiring to have clubs – places where we can feel our most comfortable – become so focused on having to raise funds. We do not want to keep having these conversations about how much we must raise, how much money we will lose, and even how much we – both students and staff – will have to put in from our own pockets. If the School Committee decides to limit this collaboration, and leave it to us to fundraise without staff help, clubs will only have to center fundraising even more; we can only have so many car washes and bake sales! I’m sure you, too, look at the best moments of your high school career as the time you spent in extracurriculars…why not let us have the same?


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